“A beautiful testament to a richly productive and dignified life”

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29 January 2014

Dougal McNeill wrote a very enthusiastic review of Daniel Bensaïd’s An Impatient Life for the International Socialist Organization (Aotearoa). He calls the book “a beautiful testament to a richly productive and dignified life” that illuminates Bensaïd’s life-long commitment to revolutionary struggle, from post-68 Paris as a leader of the Ligue communiste to Latin America with the Fourth International, from “imaginative, experimental, open thinking” on the role of theory to compelling reflections on his Jewish heritage and on anti-Zionist politics.

But McNeill also stresses the “strangely exciting, unsettling experience” of reading a book that never indulges into a romanticized version of political struggle.

“There is much to learn from these pages, and much pleasure to take from their unsentimentally emotional fidelity to the cause of revolution and human liberation.”

Rather than a nostalgic longing for a mythified past – in the guise of May 68 in particular – Bensaïd’s interest is, and has always been, “in our possible future.” It is “almost an anti-memoir” that offers a staunch rebuttal to the narratives of disillusionment, disavowal and political embourgeoisement that frame so many memoirs from the 1968 generation.

“Most of all, this is an energising book, a book that reminds us of the rightness of refusing the inevitability of capitalism and war, of the promise of international solidarity and socialism, of our responsibility to all those who have made sacrifices in this struggle.”
Visit the International Socialist Organization to read the review in full.

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